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Ethiopian Daniel Hoek has no doubt in his mind that if his Dutch father had not abandoned him he would never have turned to crime. His Dutch father, Joop Hoek, has no doubt in his mind that if his Dutch-Indonesian father had not abandoned him he would have grown up to be a different person. In The Bastard two separate stories of an adult child and an elderly father are inextricably intertwined. Together they tell a harrowing tale about fate and DNA and about how the lack of a father influenced these lives.